Leeds Liverpool Canal retaining wall collapses into garden

Jez Dowthwaite in the back garden of his Grange Crescent, Riddlesden, home, where the canal bank’s retaining wall has collapsed

Jez Dowthwaite in the back garden of his Grange Crescent, Riddlesden, home, where the canal bank’s retaining wall has collapsed

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by

Bad weather has been blamed for the collapse of a retaining wall on a canal embankment causing rocks and soil to crash into a couple’s garden.

Jez Dowthwaite was at his home in Riddlesden when the rocks and soil poured into the yard, flattening patio furniture and a washing line, wrecking a fence, and narrowly missing the back of his house.

Mr Dowthwaite, 47, of Grange Crescent, said: “There was an almighty bang. I thought a car had crashed at the front of the house, but when I went out, there was nothing. I turned round and saw our patio table at the back was hanging over the fence into the neighbour’s yard. I got the torch out to go and have a look, and that’s when I saw what had happened.”

The house occupied by Mr Dowthwaite and his wife Julie backs on to the Leeds Liverpool Canal which runs along the top of the embankment.

Mr Dowthwaite, a train driver, said the site had been assessed by Canal and River Trust engineers, but it had not been cordoned off.

He said: “About six or seven years ago, the wall started bulging out. Some people from British Waterways came round, took the wall down then rebuilt it and said ‘that’ll last 50 years’.”

His neighbour, 38-year-old James Mitchell, said the section of wall behind his own house was intact but very unstable.

“The only thing holding it up is the ivy,” he said. “The surveyor said it was dangerous, and that we shouldn’t go into our back yard. I understand why they may not be able to repair it immediately, but making it safe should be a priority.”

A Canal and River Trust spokesman said: “Our duty officer received a call regarding a collapsed retaining garden wall at Grange Crescent, which backs on to the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

“Our engineers have visited the site to carry out investigations into the cause of the collapse, which we believe was due to the recent bad weather.

“Our staff have been liaising with the owners of the properties to ensure the area is safe, and we will repair the collapsed section as soon as possible.”

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